Sweden reopens rape case against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, wants extradition

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Swedish prosecutors are to re-open investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Sweden's investigation into the rape allegation against Assange has been reopened at the request of the alleged victim's lawyer, the BBC reported on Monday, with Swedish deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson asserting that "there is still probable cause to suspect that Mr. Assange committed rape".

Persson, the Swedish prosecutor, said that following Assange's arrest last month in London, "the circumstances in this case have changed".

Earlier this month, a court in London sentenced Assange to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail by seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London back in 2012.

A law enforcement source said on Monday that if Manning refuses to testify, prosecutors will likely request that she be jailed again for contempt.

Persson said Sweden will issue an arrest warrant and request that Assange be brought to Sweden for a trial after he completes his sentence in the United Kingdom.

"This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name".

Manning's testimony has been sought in a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

An arrest warrant for Assange was issued on November 18, 2010 by Ny on suspicion of rape, three counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion.

Meanwhile the USA is also seeking to extradite the whistleblower on charges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack a Pentagon computer and steal state secrets. Persson added that reopening the investigation into Assange means that "a number of investigative measures will take place".

The British courts will have to rule on the two extradition requests, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid having the final say on which one takes precedence.

Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelsen told Swedish broadcaster SVT on Monday he was "very surprised" by the decision to reopen the case.

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said reopening the Swedish case would give Assange "a chance to clear his name".

"In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority", a Swedish prosecutor's statement said.

Swedish prosecutors had filed preliminary charges in 2010 after two women said they were victims of sex crimes commited by Assange when he visited the country.

He is now housed in Belmarsh prison, after being convicted of breaching bail conditions. Manning has said that she wanted to expose what she considered to be the USA military's disregard for how the Iraq War was affecting civilians, and that she was motivated "out of a love for my country".

Sweden's request sets the stage for Britain to field dueling extradition requests from both Sweden and the United States after Assange completes his prison sentence.

He was arrested later that year in London before being released on bail.

But Ecuador withdrew Assange's diplomatic asylum on 11 April after some tension between the Australian and his landlords, and Assange was promptly hustled into a Met Police van. Assange was then refused permission to appeal the decision in the British Supreme Court in December.